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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Your True Colors

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4)

James refers to the process of our faith-life being forced into the open by the challenges we face in our daily walk.  He tells us that pressure helps to produce evidence of our faith in Christ and brings evidence of Christ-like maturity in our choices.  I don't want you to miss the statement that "true colors" are revealed - they are often hidden or need something else to be removed in order for them to show through.

Pressure is defined as a burden of physical or mental stress.  It can be a constraint that comes into our lives that demands our attention.  There is usually an urgency about what we face - not able to sweep it under the rug.  To be mature means that we show evidence of growth and development.  It is possible to grow, but still be developmentally immature.  James is pointing toward the process where both our growth of character and spirit is in unison.  He is giving us the simple truth that the pressures we face in life have an impact of producing what God desires - the image of his Son deep in our lives.

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. (James 1:5-8)

Ask boldly - this is the attitude of heart that James describes we are to have when faced with challenges that we don't understand.  To be bold is to be fearless, assured, and confident.  A bold person stands out - they are conspicuous.  God never expects us to either keep our needs hidden or to feel like we have to just barely let our a "squeak" in his presence to lay our burdens down before him.  He says to come boldly - assured he will be listening, confident that he will be responsive, fearless to lay it all down (even the ugly stuff).  It amazes me how many times I come to God as the "worrier" and not the "warrior"!

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. (James 1:12)

Meeting challenges head on can only be done under the anointing of Christ - we have a passion, but he gives us the ability to actually fulfill what needs to be done.  A challenge is something that calls us out - invites us into competition.  It stimulates us - exciting our passion.  It also serves to call us into account - or into question!  What calls us into combat at this moment?  Are we facing those "giants" or running from them?  What invites us into competition - in our thoughts, our actions, or simply our interests?  What is it that stimulates us - what do we get excited about?  Those things that stimulate us act as a "goad" to draw us out of our present complacency. 

Whatever calls us into account can affect how we move forward - giving an account can be revealing and frightening.  Something in this life will hold our fascination long enough to be a challenge to us.  It could be a challenge that will produce right character, or a challenge that will reveal an opportunity for change in our lives.  Hold onto the truth - your true colors are being revealed!  I want mine to be the colors I don't mind "flying high"!  How about you?